Paraphilias are considered to be unusual patterns of sexual behavior in which the source of pleasure is found in some object, situation or person. We could define them as sexual behaviors in which desire, excitement or pleasure depends on unusual elements.
It is a term that comes from the Greek and is formed from the union of “para” (together with) and “philía” (love).
Most of the paraphilias are classified as harmless, although there are exceptions since some can cause physical and / or psychological damage to some of the participants. Paraphilic is because:
Sexual disorders will be considered when these behaviors are absolutely necessary to achieve sexual arousal and become an impulse that is difficult for the individual to control. They tend to be more common in men than in women. The difficulty is that there is no consensus to establish a precise limit between what would be the unusual sexual interest and the paraphilia. There is even debate about whether any of the considered paraphilias should appear in the diagnostic manuals or not..
Whether or not a behavior is considered paraphilic depends on prevailing social conventions, for example oral sex or masturbation were once considered paraphilic behaviors, for this reason a definitive list of paraphilias cannot be made.
To summarize, not every unusual erotic practice is considered paraphilia. To be considered as such, it must cease to be a healthy and controllable practice by the individual who performs it. In addition, they must be behaviors not accepted by the majority of the population, they can even be classified as a crime if people who have not given their consent are involved or there is a clear abuse of power as in the case of pedophilia..
This does not mean that “unusual” sexual conduct by consenting adults performed occasionally should be considered paraphilia. Many couples do paraphilic practices in bed and it is just another sexual game. The problem is when for a person it is the only way to feel sexual pleasure. It depends on the degree of affectation in the sexual life of the person, they can be considered mild (if the individual rarely expresses or manifests it), moderate (more explicit but controlled behaviors) or serious (when they become obsessions).
Paraphilias can include from various human and non-human objects, actions of inflicting suffering on oneself or another individual and involving people who have not given their consent to participate voluntarily in the sexual act.
Although there are countless behaviors that could be defined as paraphilic, in the following list we are going to summarize the most common ones;
These are some of the most common paraphilias, but not the only ones. The list is almost endless as it depends on the human imagination.
American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-V-TR. Barcelona: Masson